updated 11:43 am EDT, Sat March 29, 2014
Lawsuit sought financial renumeration, not change in business strategy
District Judge Jesse Furman of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York has ruled in Chinese search engine giant Baidu's favor, shutting down an Internet censorship lawsuit. Furman called the blocking of pro-democracy websites "editorial control" by Baidu, and noted that nothing was preventing US users from using different search engines, such as Google or Bing.
Judge Furman ruled that "the First Amendment protects Baidu's right to advocate for systems of government other than democracy just as surely as it protects Plaintiffs' rights to advocate for democracy."
Baidu was sued in 2011 in the US by a group of free speech advocates over censoring Chinese freedom-of-speech websites. The group of eight New York residents included the Chinese government in its complaint. The group claimed that, as the Baidu site can be utilized in the US, that it violates the US Constitution by colluding with the Chinese government to omit search results.
Baidu attorney Carey Ramos said in a statement that the ruling "shows that our courts protect the right of all media to choose what they publish. That right extends to Internet media as well as print media. And it protects Chinese media as much as American media."